By: Kayla Calhoun (Guest Writer/Intern from Towson University, Class of ’19)
Let me set the stage for you. I walk down to the first floor of the Center for Integrative Medicine (CIM) building, which is a part of the University of Maryland’s School of Medicine, and down the hallway off to the right of the main entrance until I make it to a sign that says, “Well Room”. The room is the size of a normal office, however, instead of a set of desk and chairs, there is a seated massage chair in the middle and yoga mats laid against the opposite wall. There is an aromatherapy diffuser emitting a soothing lavender scent, soft music coming from a speaker resting on a cabinet, and dim light, gently illuminates the area. I am standing in the doorway of CIM’s brand-new Well Room.
Massage Session Impressions
By Rebekah Frizzelle-Owens, LMT, BCTMB, CIMI, CPMT
Touch is an important part of life – it is part of what makes us human and makes us whole. Studies have shown that when someone doesn’t get enough caring touch in their lives, they can begin to psychologically wither and grow “touch starved.” Cancer treatments are life-saving, but can also leave patients feeling isolated, anxious, stressed, and more. Massage can help!
Video courtesy Maryland Proton Treatment Center.
By Katrina Farber, LMT, BCMT
Arthritis is a commonly known chronic condition commonly associated with age. We often hear the phrase “Well, I’m just getting old. Everything is starting to hurt.” Arthritis is actually a general term used to describe over 100 different joint diseases, though, and can affect people of many age groups. It is not just a disease effecting older adults. Over 50 million Americans suffer with some type of arthritis, which makes it the #1 cause of disability in the country. The pain and discomfort related to arthritis can occur in any joint of the body, and can affect more than one area of the body. (About Arthritis, 2017)
Massage therapy is frequently used to assist with various types of pain management. Arthritis is one of the many conditions often recommended to seek out massage care. For instance, in a study of hand/wrist arthritis, patients were given professional massage care as well as taught self-massage for home care. After 4 weeks, these patients reported less pain and greater grip strength. (Field, 2007)
By Rebekah Frizzelle Owens, LMT, BCMT, CIMI, CPMT
“Touch seems to be as essential as sunlight ... In the absence of touching and being touched, people of all ages can sicken and grow touch starved.”
~ Diane Ackerman, A Natural History of the Senses
What is the first thing you do when a child is crying? You pat his back or hug him. What about when you bang your knee on a coffee table? You rub it. When a family member is sad or upset? You give her a hug or just hold her tight. The common theme here is touch; you touch someone to make them feel better, to help them heal. Did you know that rubbing someone’s back when they are upset is a kind of therapeutic touch or an informal massage? How many of us rub or child’s back when we get him ready for bed? We are massaging him!
Therapeutic touch and massage “goes beyond the routine and bonds one human being to another” (1). It is gentle, patient, conscious, and says, “I’m here, I care, you are important to me. It is an easy, natural way to care for someone.
By Kat Farber, LMT, BCMT, CA
Sleep quality is an imperative function for our health and wellness. One that we often overlook or take for granted until we are denied it. Its significance can be underestimated; seen as “inefficient.” In a culture of multi-tasking, we do not consider the dreaming and internal body functions that occur during sleep to be important enough to warrant our effort and respect. We even demean sleep to being an “inefficient” use of time, while attempting to minimize it to its smallest impact possible. Research shows us that sleep deprivation and fragmentation can have serious impacts on our overall health including short term memory, reaction time, and degraded mood. (Bonnett, 2003)
Massage therapy has been proven to increase sleep quality in many different populations, including severely ill, children, and adults. While I’m sure we would all love to have a personal massage therapist come to our homes and massage us to sleep each evening, a more realistic opportunity exists for everyone to learn some basic self-massage care techniques.
By Kat Farber, LMT, BCMT
It was once thought that massage therapy was contraindicated for people with cancer, across the board. Until recent years, massage students were taught it was one of the big “no-no's” in massage, without exception; and many doctors avoided the treatment because they didn't have a full understanding of how it could interact. But increased research over the last 20 years is showing that in most cases massage therapy is not only safe for cancer care, it's actually very beneficial. The concern once was that massage therapy may spread cancer cells based on its involvement with the circulatory system, but these concerns are unfounded. With advancements in our understanding, we now know there are more factors necessary for metastasis to occur, none of which are related to massage therapy.
By: Rebekah Frizzelle-Owens, LMT, BCTMB, CPMT, CIMI
Many people live with chronic upper back pain. If it is due to muscular irregularities caused by poor posture, stress, or too much time at the keyboard, you can try these easy self-massage techniques – all done with a tennis ball!
Using a wall is the easiest and most convenient way to use a tennis ball to massage your back. Lean in to it gently and roll around until you find your tight areas. Press in on them with as much or little press as is comfortable for as long as is comfortable. Ideally, it will "hurt so good" (which is generally a 5-7 on the 0-10 pain scale) and will feel satisfying. The ball can go anywhere on your back - EXCEPT your spine - including middle and lower areas.
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